– Potentially high cost
After a disappointing run with James Harden and Chris Paul in Houston, the Rockets decided to shake things up. The Rockets traded Paul along with two first-round picks and two future pick swaps to the Thunder for Russell Westbrook.
While Westbrook is a better player than Paul at this stage in their careers, the number of draft assets the Thunder got from the Rockets was remarkable. Many thought that Paul might never even play for the Thunder, as they entertained the idea of trading him. However, his large contract resulted in no deals, and the Thunder went into the season with him.
Paul quickly made the decision to trade for him a wise one, as the Thunder are playing well, and they got multiple picks to eat his contract. However, due to him playing well, the trade market for Paul would be much different this offseason.
The Lakers would have to be able to match the contract of Paul, which would be a challenge. Also, the Thunder would likely want an asset like Kyle Kuzma in return. The Lakers could see their depth gutted in a deal for Paul.
While they might be able to get veterans to sign on the cheap to chase a ring, nothing is certain in the NBA.